1960s Chop Suey Recipe

Hey there! Ever wanted to step back in time and taste a bit of the 1960s? Well, now’s your chance with this classic Chop Suey recipe straight from that groovy era! Picture yourself in one of those old-school Chinese-American diners, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the ’60s.

Alright, so you’re in for a treat! This dish is like a time machine for your taste buds, packed with flavors that’ll transport you back in time. And the best part? It’s super easy to whip up! No need for fancy ingredients or complicated techniques.

So, let’s get started! First things first, gather up all those vibrant ingredients. You know, the ones that scream nostalgia and comfort. Think crunchy veggies, savory sauce, and maybe even some tender meat if you’re feeling fancy.

Now, it’s time to dive into the recipe and recreate this iconic dish together. Trust me, it’s going to be a delicious trip down memory lane!

1960s Chop Suey

In the 1960s, Chop Suey emerged as a culinary icon, epitomizing the fusion of Chinese and American flavors. This nostalgic dish, popular in Chinese-American cuisine, featured succulent bites of pork, crisp celery, earthy mushrooms, and the crunch of water chestnuts.

Drenched in a savory soy sauce-based broth, this hearty stir-fry represented the evolving palate of the era. The 1960s Chop Suey, with its roots in both cultures, showcased the adaptability of Chinese culinary traditions to Western tastes.

Served over steamed rice, this dish became a comforting and flavorful favorite, leaving an indelible mark on the culinary landscape of its time.

Ingredients for this 1960s Chop Suey Recipe

  • 1 ½ lbs. pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 celery stalks, cut on the diagonal
  • 2 large onions, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. bean sprouts
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons flour mixed with ½ cup water

Tools Required

  1. Large skillet or wok
  2. Cutting board
  3. Knife
  4. Mixing bowl
  5. Measuring cups and spoons
  6. Wooden spoon or spatula
  7. Pan cover

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Recipe for 1960s Chop Suey

Step-01: Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork in batches to brown it. Once browned, set it aside.

Step-02: Return all browned pork to the pan. Add water and soy sauce. Cook over medium heat, allowing the pork to simmer and absorb the flavors.

1960s Chop Suey Recipe

Step-03: Add chopped onions and celery. Cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes or until the pork becomes tender. Incorporate sliced mushrooms and water chestnuts. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

1960s Chop Suey Recipe

Step-04: In a bowl, mix flour with water to create a smooth paste. Stir the paste into the chop suey, allowing it to thicken. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Step-05: Add bean sprouts right before serving to maintain their crispiness. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

1960s Chop Suey Recipe

What to Serve With Chop Suey

Explore diverse serving and pairing suggestions to infuse greater variety into this dish. Unleash your creativity by incorporating your unique taste preferences and flavor combinations.

1. Classic Rice Bowl:
Serve the chop suey over a bed of steamed white or brown rice. The rice will absorb the savory flavors, creating a classic and hearty meal.

2. Noodle Nest:
Create a nest of cooked chow mein noodles on each plate and spoon the chop suey into the center. The noodles add an extra layer of texture.

3. Lettuce Wraps:
Use large, crisp lettuce leaves as wraps. Allow diners to scoop a generous portion of chop suey into the lettuce, creating flavorful wraps.

4. Sesame Ginger Quinoa:
For a healthier alternative, serve the chop suey over a bed of quinoa seasoned with sesame oil and ginger. This adds a nutty flavor and boosts nutritional value.

5. Vegetable Fried Rice:
Pair the chop suey with a side of vegetable fried rice. The combination of flavors will make for a satisfying and diverse meal.

6. Crispy Chow Mein Noodle Topping:
Sprinkle crispy chow mein noodles on top of each serving for an added crunch. This not only enhances texture but also adds a nostalgic touch to the dish.

7. Asian-style Tacos:
Fill small tortillas or Asian-style rice paper wraps with the chop suey mixture, creating unique and flavorful tacos.

8. Chop Suey Stir-Fry Egg Rolls:
Incorporate the chop suey into homemade stir-fry egg rolls. The crispy exterior complements the tender filling for a delightful bite.

9. Chop Suey Omelette:
Fold a portion of chop suey into a fluffy omelette for a breakfast or brunch twist. The combination of flavors will be a pleasant surprise.

10. Asian Fusion Bowl:
Create a customizable bowl by offering a variety of toppings such as sliced green onions, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce. Allow diners to mix and match to their liking.

Some Special Guidelines for this 1960s Chop Suey Recipe

Consider these guidelines when attempting this recipe, especially if it’s your first time. Following these tips will assist you in crafting a flawless dish on your inaugural try.

1. Prepare Ingredients in Advance:
Before you start cooking, have all your ingredients chopped, sliced, and measured. This will make the cooking process smoother and more enjoyable.

2. Use a Large Skillet or Wok:
Ensure you have a spacious skillet or wok to accommodate all the ingredients. This allows for proper cooking and ensures even distribution of flavors.

3. Brown the Pork Thoroughly:
When browning the pork, take the time to achieve a golden exterior. This step enhances the flavor of the meat and contributes to the overall richness of the dish.

4. Maintain a Simmer for Flavor Absorption:
Let the pork simmer in the soy sauce-infused water. This helps the meat absorb the delicious flavors, creating a savory base for the chop suey.

5. Cover the Pan During Cooking:
When cooking the onions and celery, covering the pan helps retain moisture and ensures that the vegetables and pork cook evenly.

6. Add Mushrooms and Water Chestnuts at the Right Time:
Introduce mushrooms and water chestnuts in the later stages to preserve their texture. This adds a delightful crunch and earthy flavor to the dish.

7. Gradually Add Flour Mixture:
When thickening the sauce with the flour mixture, add it gradually and stir continuously. This prevents lumps and ensures a smooth, well-incorporated sauce.

8. Adjust Seasoning Before Serving:
Taste the chop suey before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. This ensures a perfectly balanced and flavorful dish.

9. Serve Bean Sprouts Fresh:
Add bean sprouts right before serving to maintain their freshness and crispiness. They provide a delightful crunch and a burst of freshness to the dish.

10. Pair with Steamed Rice:
For an authentic experience, serve your 1960s Chop Suey over steamed rice. The rice complements the rich flavors of the dish and helps balance the textures.

How to Store and Reheat

Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in an airtight container. Ensure it’s cooled to room temperature before sealing. Store for up to 2-3 days, noting that the bean sprouts may lose their crunch over time.


For best results, reheat chop suey on the stovetop or in the microwave until thoroughly heated. If using the stovetop, add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking and maintain moisture. Stir occasionally. Reheat until steaming, and avoid overcooking to preserve the dish’s texture and flavors.

Common Queries on this 1960s Chop Suey Recipe

The frequently asked questions along with their brief responses will enhance your comprehension of the 1960s Chop Suey Recipe

1. What was in the original chop suey?

Original chop suey typically consisted of a mix of meat (often pork or chicken), vegetables, and a savory sauce. The dish has evolved over time, but it was introduced as a Chinese-American creation in the late 19th century.

2. What are the ingredients to chop suey?

The 1960s Chop Suey recipe includes pork, oil, salt, pepper, celery, onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, soy sauce, water, and a flour-water mixture for thickening.

3. What is the difference between American and Chinese chop suey?

American chop suey, especially the 1960s version, is a Chinese-American dish that has adapted to Western tastes. It typically includes meat, vegetables, and a thicker sauce. Traditional Chinese chop suey might have a lighter sauce and a different selection of ingredients.

4. Is chop suey a traditional Chinese dish?

Chop suey has Chinese roots, but it is considered more of a Chinese-American creation. The dish was popularized in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

5. Can I use chicken instead of pork in chop suey?

Yes, you can substitute chicken for pork in the chop suey recipe. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.

6. Can I make chop suey vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can create a vegetarian version by omitting the meat and using tofu or a variety of vegetables as the main components.

7. What is the significance of water chestnuts in chop suey?

Water chestnuts add a crunchy texture to chop suey, providing a contrast to the tender meat and vegetables. They are a common ingredient in Chinese-American cuisine.

8. What tools do I need to make chop suey?

To prepare chop suey, you’ll need a large skillet or wok, a cutting board, a knife, a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a wooden spoon or spatula, and a pan cover.

9. Can I make chop suey ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the chop suey ahead of time, but it’s best to add the bean sprouts just before serving to maintain their freshness and crunch.

10. What makes special chop suey different from the classic version?

Special chop suey might include unique ingredients, flavor variations, or regional twists that distinguish it from the classic recipe. Special versions often showcase a chef’s creativity or incorporate premium ingredients.

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